In the November news - The Textile Exchange has released the definition of "leather".
The Textile Exchange has adopted a position for the term “leather”. The term should only be used for materials derived from tanned hides and skins. This decision aligns the organisation with important pieces of legislation in several countries.
It will also provide more clarity for consumers on what is real leather or what is vegan material as out of our survey, together with the Leather UK & University of Northampton, under 2.000 consumers were questioned about so-called “vegan leather” there is a lot of confusion among consumers. 54% of the consumers had no idea what “vegan leather” is or what the composition of this material is and that it could potentially be 100% made from polyurethane or pvc (plastic).
Released definition of “leather” by Textile Exchange:
At Textile Exchange, we define leather according to the following criteria, aligning with the EU directive 94/11/EC, ISO 15115, and EN 15987:2015.
- A hide or skin with its original fibrous structure more or less intact and tanned so it does not rot
- Either with or without hair or wool attached
- Inclusive of hides or skin split into layers or segmented either before or after tanning
- With any surface coating or surface layer no thicker than 0.15 mm.
The term “recycled leather” should only be used if the fibre structure remains intact during the recycling process. Leather disintegrated into fibrous particles, small pieces or powders and combined or not with chemical binding agents, and made into sheets, with a minimum amount of 50% in weight of dry leather fibres should be referred to as “recycled leather fibre.”
Materials that do not meet the definition above will not be described by Textile Exchange as leather, regardless of any past designation or common usage of the term.
There is currently a gap in the legal framing of the classification and naming of the diverse materials sold as alternative materials to leather. This leads to misleading labelling where a fossil-based synthetic material could be referred to in the same way as an innovative plant-based material, making it difficult for a consumer to differentiate the two.
We’re encouraging policymakers to close this gap. For now, these diverse manmade materials, fully or partially plant-based will be grouped in the ‘Manmade non-fiber materials’ category of our reports and programs, until further legal guidance on the naming and categorization of these materials is available.
Source: Textile Exchange